Panopticon Surveillance

Category : ,

Date : 2021

“Big Brother is watching you”.

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, every citizen from a fictional society is under constant surveillance by the authorities, inspiring fear and anxiety over the population. 

The controversy behind a global mass surveillance is often observed in the Digital Age, calling into question important matters such as privacy or safety. 

The way our personal information is managed by entities we may not know causes a certain disquietness among us and no privacy policy smooths the strange feeling of being observed and followed. 

“Mercury, Argus and Io”- detail. Bernardino Pinturicchio, 1492-1494.
“Big Brother Watching You” Nineteen Eighty Four movie poster, 1984.

“Big Brother is watching you”

Our “Big Brother” uses a panoptic surveillance system. From the biggest tower we sees it all; there is no conners to hide, the whole world has a circular blueprint.

Now speaking about the design itself – we see an androgynous main figure with multiple eyes spread around the body. He is Argus Panoptes, a one hundred-eyed giant in Greek mythology who worked for Hera (queen of the Gods) as a very effective watchman- his epithet “Panoptes” actually means “the all seeing” and for that reason we see it frequently associated to surveillance systems. 

“Big Brother is watching you”.

As we look to the background we can distinguish many pornographic advertisement- Some of you might think of voyerism, which is not a wrong association- but the meaning of that is related to how most of us usually got some Trojan horsesBrowser’s Hijacks, Adwares or Diallers – all sort of annoying spyware. A spyware by definition is a type of malicious software that collects sensitive credentials from a computer system without user’s consent. This software , once installed, enables a user to obtain covert information about another’s computer activities by transmitting data covertly from their hard drive – it can even steal login id, password & credit card information.

 “Big Brother is watching you”.

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Vintage adult ads from Follies magazine, 1968.
“Juno puts Argus's eyes in her peacock's tail”. Philip van Gunst, after Magdalena van de Passe, 1685 - 1732.
Inside one of the prison buildings at Presidio Modelo, Isla de la Juventud, Cuba.
Drawing by Willey Reveley of a panopticon prison, circa 1791, elevated view.
“Argus and Mercurius” Hendrick Goltzius, 1580 - 1590
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